Welcome I-22, it’s growth, access

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, October 15, 2015

An official signage ceremony will take place one county over from us Oct. 23, further celebrating Interstate 22.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation will unveil signs for the roadway next Friday in New Albany at the BNA Park.

While the future I-22 will not run through Lafayette County, it does run through our neighboring Union, Benton and Marshall counties and we can celebrate the benefits from another major interstate being next door.

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Not only does it give us faster and safer access to get to our destinations quicker, whether it is Memphis or Birmingham, but it also is an economic generator.

U.S. Highway 78 was designated by Congress as a future interstate corridor and will connect to Interstate 269 when complete. The official change to Interstate 22 has been sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for final approval.

Signs are up through portions of the road, particularly in Alabama, but now it’s time for Mississippi’s signs.

With the official designation, more industries will know there is a major thoroughfare that can be used to transport goods. Industries will understand they can bring workers to even a small town in Mississippi with faith there is a large city easily accessible via the interstate for whatever specialty product that might be needed and not found locally.

“As expansion and growth continue in North Mississippi, I-22 will play a vital role in promoting safety and economic development throughout the region,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “I-22 will connect local communities in Northeast Mississippi to the future I-269 corridor located in Marshall and DeSoto counties.”

It has taken years to get Highway 78 from the planning phases through the construction phases and on to this point, but the good news is the roadway now meets federal standards and there are plans for the route to connect to the existing interstate system within 25 years. Highway 78 does both and connects in Tennessee.

We welcome the official Interstate 22.